Freedom fighter and renowned actor Zafar Iqbal was one of the most stylish stars of the industry and a favourite amongst youngsters, during the 70s and 80s. His unexpected demise in 1991 was a tremendous loss for the fraternity and his legions of fans. Today marks the 70th birthday of the iconic artiste, who was the sibling of noted singer Shahnaz Rahmantullah and prominent music director Anwar Parvez.
At the age of 19, Zafar Iqbal made his film debut with the Khan Ataur Rahman directorial Apon Por (1969). The movie also featured Sarah Kabori. The film's song Ja Re Jabi Jodi Ja was a hit amongst the audience.
Babita and Zafar Iqbal made a fantastic pair on the screen, working in 30 films together. They made a guest appearance in Shurjo Shongram (1979), along with Farooque. The film is directed by Abdus Samad.
After the Ashok Ghosh directorial Mastan (1975) solidified his position as a dashing leading star, the film Noyoner Alo (1984), alongside Suborna Mustafa, marked his foray into romantic roles.
In his career, he was featured in 150 films, including Obujh Hridoy, Bhai Bondhu, Obodan, Premik, Shadharon Meye, Fokir Monju Shah, Diner Por Din, Bedwin, Ongshidar, Megh Bijli Badhon, Saat Rajar Dhon, Ashirbaad, Opomaan, Ek Mutho Bhaat, Ghriholokkhi, Ogo Bideshini, Premik, Nawab, Protirodh, Phuler Mala, CID, Morjada, Shondhi, Bondhu Amar, and Usila, among many others.
"His grace, acting, voice, and personality charmed us all. He even played English songs beautifully, with his guitar," recalls Babita.
"Though he was older than me, he treated me like a friend," says singer Kumar Biswajit, who did playback singing for many of Zafar Iqbal's film songs.
Zafar Iqbal was a talented singer as well. He took up singing from a young age, forming the band, Rolling Stone in 1966, with his friends. His debut playback song was Hoy Jodi Bodnaam Hok Aro, composed by his elder brother, Anwar Parvez, for the film Bodnaam. The song Shukhe Thako O Amar Nondini, composed by legendary music director Alauddin Ali, was another hit song sung by the actor. Tumi Amar Jibon, Ami Tomar Jibon was another hit song by him. His musical album, titled Keno Tumi Kadale, was released in the 80s. He sang the number, Ek Hridoyhinar Kachhe Hridoyer Daam Ki Achhe for the 25th birth anniversary of BTV. Later, Rafiqul Alam also sang the song.
Zafar Iqbal passed away in April 27, 1991, at the age of 40.
Translated by Sharmin Joya